Клуб мировой политической экономики
Мастер-класс Ханса-Йоахима Шпангера «Проблема несостоявшихся государств и мировая экономика», 4-е заседание Клуба мировой политической экономики, 30 января 2007 г., ГУ-ВШЭ
|30 января 2007 года в ГУ-ВШЭ состоялся мастер-класс Заместителя директора Франкфуртского института изучения проблем мира, профессора Ханса-Йоахима Шпангера на тему «Проблема несостоявшихся государств и мировая экономика» (на английском языке)|
Moderator (Professor Sergei Karaganov): Dear friends, we are not yet opening the official lecture of Professor Spanger, but before that Professor Kortunov, who is the Head of the Department of International Politics at the School of International Economics and Foreign Affairs of the State University — Higher School of Economics and also the First Deputy Dean of the School, will explain to you the general outline of the project we have started. And we are starting right away.
Kortunov: Thank you, Sergei, very much for this introduction. I will be very brief. I have the pleasure to introduce to you our new project — The World Political Economy Club. It is a joint project of the State University, the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and Russia in Global Affairs magazine. And what is also very important that LUKOIL Transnational Company kindly supports us in this endeavour as project sponsor and I am very glad to welcome here Mr. Marushchenko, the representative of LUKOIL.
We are trying to set up a very unusual club. First of all, the idea is to get together both experts and students. And secondly, our purpose is to give room for debate on major world problems — political, economical, military, etc., which would be compatible with the State University's educational programs. I believe this experience will be unique, at least in Russia. The Club meetings will be held on a regular basis, and we will have them at least one time a month or twice a month. Presentations will be delivered both in Russian and in foreign languages, first of all in English, perhaps, in French and in German. The records will be published at special Club website which is being constructed right now.
Generally our ambition is to involve as many students as possible. And addressing our students I would like to mention that the Club is yours so you are welcome to make your comments and provocative questions during Mr. Spanger's presentation. That's the most essential I would like to say about the Club.
Karaganov: Thank you, Sergei. I would add to that a couple of things. We will have not only the presentations plus debates like we are having today. In most cases we will have debates on papers, which will be presented or have already been presented at the Club meetings, which will then be a focus of the discussions so that the experts — and we hope to involve the best in the field both from Russia and abroad — could not only participate in the debates but also criticize and add to the papers which will be presented beforehand. We have quite a few. Actually most of you, members of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy as well as members of the community of the School of International Economics and Foreign Affairs at the University, will be presented with the first product of the School, which is their prognostication of the world around Russia for the next ten years. The book is ready. It has been translated. So, you will get it as a textbook in about a month or less.
And then on each of the subjects we will have debates, involving the best experts from all over the world, be it Russians or people from other countries. And then these chapters will be augmented, updated on the basis of the debates. Of course we will have social life just as well. Since LUKOIL generously agreed to pay for the proceedings we will be able not only to get good speakers and professional debates but also some social undertakings. It will be closely linked with the work of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy as well as Russia in Global Affairs magazine.
I has been elected by secret vote of a very few people to be the Chairman of the Club. But frankly speaking, it is only the formal thing, and the real bosses of the Club will be professors Sergei Kortunov and Maxim Bratersky, who is the Head of a Russian Studies School at our University. They will be leading our work. I will be helping them.
We have already had within the framework of the Club three meetings with some top experts and some most interesting papers were debated and presented during the last several months to the international expert community. Let me only remind you of the report to the Trilateral Commission on the policy towards Russia which was presented here in the University in September. The paper is widely debated and is considered as very important now.
As of today we have a privilege to welcome here our honorable guest Professor Joachim Spanger who is a very interesting and unique scholar, one of the best in Germany, who always tackles unusual problems which is quite outlandish for Germany. Usually German scholars deal with problems which have been known to the international intellectual class for many years. But he has the guts to deal with very difficult problems. And he will deliver a lecture for about half an hour on the phenomenon of failed states and on the recipes how to deal with this phenomenon. This is an open question in international theory and international practice.
Professor Spanger has been co-directing a very prominent institute, Peace Research Institute, now it is called Frankfurt, but earlier it was Hessen.
Voice: There are two different names.
Karaganov: I remember very well that it used to be Hessen. He has also written a lot of articles and several books. Be absolutely free to ask any question you want or make comments. It is an open debate. The young people here are on an equal footing with the experts around this table. We will be interested in your questions and your comments. This whole endeavor is not only scholarly or political, it's educational. So please be free. You are the hosts, Professor Spanger is our guest. You are welcome.
Spanger: Thank you so much, Sergei. Thank you in particular for this nice introduction, as usual a bit exaggerative, but I take it. It's also a great honor to be here since I have learned it's the first time that you have these meetings in this building. So, it's a sort of premiere. It's a great pleasure to be with you this evening.
I am not quite sure I can manage to do it in half an hour, maybe a bit longer. But I'll try to do my best and to speak as rapidly as possible to get through. I will take you on a sort of tour de raison connected with states, state theory and state failure, a tour which touches upon definitions, concepts, empirical cases and a bit of theorizing plus what that means in practical terms. It's just quite a long way to go together. So, as I said, it might be a bit of a problem to meet the time limit.
I will address five issues so that you know where we are going. I'll start with background and cases with respect to state failure. Then usually what scholars do when they start addressing your subjects, we move on to definition and indicators, then to basic reasons of state failure, to the triggers and the therapy.
Let me start with the first point, background of the debate about state failure, which has become an oddly discussed and debated issue, at least in the West. If I am not completely mistaken, Russia is not that far apart from a short period in your history when one could get the impression that Russia itself might be a sort of failed state which has, as we all know, fairly recently been overcome during the past years.
But there is one crucial date. And that crucial date is 9/11. It is the eleventh of September. Before 9/11 state failure was registered as a fact among many others in the world of states and was considered of rather peripheral importance. My basic advantage with regard to this theory is that we started working about the issue before 9/11. Since 9/11 the issue has been transformed into an existential threat to global peace. And it was Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and the time who defined those failed states as black holes of lawlessness of quite some strategic importance.
Today in consequence of this numerous national and multilateral activities have been set up to address the issue of state failure, be it in the framework of the World Bank, be it in the framework of the OECD or be it in the framework of the European Union's security strategy which has considered state failure as an overarching challenge incorporated into the core threats to be addressed by the security strategy alongside with terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, and regional conflicts.
The World Bank, since 2002, has identified a new grouping among the many others they have. It's a group of low-income countries under stress. And they are measured at what the World Bank defines as a country policy and institutional assessment ranking as the main indicators. And though the World Bank has some problems in identifying those countries officially, these countries comprise among others Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Liberia, Rwanda.
The OECD has done a similar thing. They identified in 2001 so-called difficult partnerships that was a change of wording for reasons of political correctness because originally they were called poor performers, which was politically incorrect. And these comprise countries or governments, whose governments are neither willing nor able to pursue a trusted and effective policy.
And on various national levels, be in the United States as a frontrunner in that regard, in the United Kingdom as a frontrunner, be it in Germany or Canada, for instance, many efforts on the national level have started towards what has been called joint up government. Take the links between the political, security and development challenge as posed by failing states and get the relevant departments towards coordinated approaches and efforts. For instance I am involved in practical terms in these efforts on the part of the German Foreign Ministry and in a study which tries to make use of international experiences in that regard and devise strategies to move beyond what has been so far only by and large paperwork.
Let me move on to the cases. What are the cases of state failure? I have already mentioned Russia for that brief period of time. But as a matter of fact state failure is present on a large scale in the Southern Hemisphere in particular. However state collapse, as a variety of state failure, is still an exception. The only constant case and the only fairly uncontroversial case of state collapse has so far been Somalia whereas any other cases, I mentioned already a few, can be located on the continuum between state weakness, on the one end, and the complete collapse of state authority, on the other.
And if you want to have a closer look at all this, I can recommend you the so-called state failure index, which is being moved on from year to year. And they have a ranking from strong states down to what they call sustainable states down to what I can't read anymore on my PowerPoint piece here because it becomes too dark.
Spanger: Yes, that's the starting point. There are good performers and there are pretty bad performers, which can't be read any more. And they are mostly found in Africa. The worst is Sudan, according to this ranking, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Iraq which has become a failed state for obvious reasons, Zimbabwe, Chad, and then Somalia. That is a ranking of the year 2006. Germany and the United States, by the way, are not considered completely out of question but they rank at 124 in the case of Germany and at 128 in the case of the United States. Unfortunately, you do not have the ranking of Russia.
Let me move on to definitions and indicators what is state failure. I do not want — first of all, if one wants to elaborate about something that fails, one has to know about what is it at all that might be failing. So, what is a state and a theory of the state? I do not venture to explore the philosophy about the state, which is, as you may know, very much populated by German thinkers who are pretty state-centric and have always been pretty state-centric. So, we do not elaborate about the Hegelian version of the state as an embodiment of purism or, as you may be more familiar from the old days, Karl Marx efforts at putting this purism at its own feet by defining the state as an embodiment of common capitalist interests.
I'll try to refer to other three main trends of thinking which are very relevant for the current definition of state and state failure. There are three basic approaches towards it. One is a purely descriptive approach, which is a bit similar to how Stalin defined the nation in the old days. It's from Georg Jellinek who used to be a German public lawyer and said that a state needs three essential ingredients. Quite simply you need to have territory, you need to have people, and you have to have state power. That combined defines a state.
Then we have a definition which points to the essence of a state beyond that purely descriptive approach, and that is the one by Max Weber who referred to the essence of the state as reflected by the existence of a legitimate monopoly of force, from which everything else is derived. That points already to that very problematic relationship of a state because on the one hand, monopoly or force is a necessary precondition for organizing exchange between people because you need to have somebody who sets an order and who enforces the rules of that order.
But having a monopoly or force also concentrates all the power into one hand and therefore also carries a very existential danger at the same time once you concentrate all that into one hand. And then we have which is currently the most popular definition, it's a definition of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which has become the relevant starting point for all these international efforts I referred to earlier. And that's a sort of functional approach. And that functional approach means that the state essentially has three functions to be performed. And whenever that is not being performed properly or sufficiently enough, that is a measurement to arrive at the definition of state failure.
So, these are basically three functions to be performed by a state. One is to provide security. Second is to provide welfare. And the third is to have democratic governance. So, a state is there to produce public goods, in other words, and to make sure that it is going to produce public goods, and it has to have democratic governance. Because otherwise that could not be secured.
So, these three approaches have to be borne in mind if one to approach the definition of state failure and their compliments on two sides on that continuum which I referred to earlier: state weakness on the one end, and state collapse on the other. So, there is a sort of authoritative definition of state failure by the former Secretary General of the UN, Boutros Boutros Ghali, from 1995, which I'll just briefly read to you.
A feature of such conflict is a collapse of state institutions, especially the police and judiciary with a resulting paralysis of governance, a breakdown of law and order and general banditry and chaos. Not only are functions of government suspended, its assets destroyed or looted and experienced officials are killed or flee the country. This is rarely the case in interstate wars. That is an important distinction because state failure is considered as a process of gradual decay of state institutions and not necessarily the outcome of civil wars for state power. I'll come back to that later.
There have been prior to 9/11 a couple of academic plus political efforts, the most prominent being one by then vice president Al Gore in the mid-1990s in the United States and financed by the CIA, which sometimes finances quite interesting things, the so-called State Failure Task Force, which was the first approach to quantifying, I mean to using quantitative methodology and a fairly longitudinal approach to identify the issue of state failure, but as you may imagine from the political intelligence background that their basic aim was to arrive at a prognosis, where are the risks and how to address these risks. For reasons of time I won't go into details of this approach of the State Failure Task Force.
What I want to indicate is that since then the discussion has moved on and has also incorporated different strand of thinking about state failure which not only concentrates on this gradual decay of state institutions, insufficiently consolidated state, in other words which does not sufficiently perform the functions I have referred to earlier. But at the opposite extreme the so-called authoritarian expansionist state which, one might say, is over-consolidated and too efficient in a sense and a state that consumes too much of the social product.
If you combine or if you take the OECD definition as a starting point — security, welfare plus democratic government — it's quite natural that if you take North Korea, for instance, if you take Syria, if you take Belarus, those countries are considered to be inherently weak, so, to be addressed, to encourage efforts to move them towards whatever is considered to be democratic governance.
Let me move on from this very sketchy view of definition and indicators to the more fundamental point of what are the reasons for state failure and there from a systematic point of view you can distinguish three elements. One is structural, second is process and the third is what triggers state failure in the end.
What are the main reasons of state failure? I already mentioned that it is sort of accumulated phenomenon in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore the German Federal Government in 2002 identified the following main reasons for state failure. Quite simply, poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization of parts of the population, lack of legitimacy of the political system, bad governance, violation of human rights, ethnic, cultural and linguistic cleavages and, if you take all of this together, you will hardly find at least in the Southern Hemisphere a country which is not a failed state. So, that is, I mean from the purely analytical point of view, nonsense.
The State Failure Task Force, which I referred to earlier, statistically identified a distinct set of structural factors and these are four in descending order. That's what they derived from their quantitative number-crunching. The most important in their view, so the highest risk for failure, is located in those countries which are only partial democracies, meaning that true democracies are stable and true authoritarian political systems are also considered stable. Partial democracies, those in the gray zone in-between, are considered to be the most at risk.
The second element is insufficient integration into the world economy. That is basically true for the whole of the African continent. The third is insufficient living conditions. And the fourth is instability in neighboring countries, so the spillover effect of regional conflicts.
Then we have an approach which just refers to statistics saying that the probability of state failure increasing with the number of states, quite obvious. Therefore it is today much higher than previously having arrived at 192 states. I'll come back to that later.
Then we have a sort of thinking about state failure which refers to a relatively prominent strand of thinking, that is, the importance of agency. Robert Rotberg who has done quite some work on state failure post-9/11 defined state failure in the following way: “State failure is largely man-made, not accidental. Institutional fragilities and structural flaws contribute to failure. But those deficiencies usually hark back to decision or actions of men and in brackets, rarely women. So, it is that leadership errors across history have destroyed states for personal gain. In the contemporary era leadership mistakes continue to erode fragile polities in Africa, Asia and Oceania that already operate on the verge of failure.” Robert Mugabe is one of the prominent examples who, according to this approach, was the crucial factor to drive a relatively good-performing country such as Zimbabwe, close to the abyss of collapse.
Then we have a very important factor to which I will also come back at a later stage, that is, time. In particular in Africa time is considered a crucial factor indeed since there were only a few decades and lack of any meaningful colonial preparation during which the process of state building had to be completed, and that is a process for which the Europeans needed centuries as a matter of fact. The European process of state building to which I will come now may be considered to have been completed at least as far as the international system is concerned, as you are all familiar with, with the Westphalian peace of 1648. The state building process might be considered to have been terminated with regard to the domestic order a bit earlier. In German history for instance, it happened in mid-16th century with the undisputed establishment of what I have referred to earlier, the essence of the state, the establishment of the monopoly of force.
State failure in history, that is a very important element which has been identified by an important historian called Charles Tilly who wrote, and I want to quote it as well because you should be aware of that, “most of the routine efforts to build states failed. The enormous majority of the political units which were around to bid for autonomy and strength in 1500 disappeared in the next few centuries, smashed or absorbed by other states in the making. A substantial majority of the units which got so far as to acquire a recognizable existence as states during those centuries still disappeared. And of the handful which survived or emerged into the 19th century as autonomous states only a few operated effectively regardless of what criterion of effectiveness we employ.”
The basic background to that is the famous notion which has again been popularized by Charles Tilly and is a bit of an early origin in state theory, that is, the famous notion of “states make war and war makes states.” So, the origin of the modern state system is war. And it's only the need to mobilize all the necessary resources by central power which led to the overcoming of the feudal systems of personal loyalty.
Then we have quite an interesting way of thinking about the reasons for state weakness and state failure in the present times. And that is a paradox of international law. It has been theorized by Robert Jackson who is a Canadian scholar and wrote quite an interesting book on the issue of state failure. And he identified one single crucial factor which gave rise to new states in the process of decolonization of the 1950s and 1960s. I want to quote: “To be a sovereign state today one needs only to have been a formal colony yesterday. All other considerations are irrelevant.”
But there is an in-built problem with that mere fact. Because it only led to the emergence of what he called quasi states with only negative sovereignty granted from the outside. So, the non-interference principle as established in international law has acted as the main guarantor that the historical law of state-making, that is, war, couldn’t operate any more. So, weak states are entitled to survive by international law, but they don’t have a statehood on their own. They are entitled by international law because war has been outlawed and it is no longer possible for a state just to swallow a weak neighbor, as it used to be the case. I remember the famous writings by a terrible German historian Treitschke in the 19th century. He even considered a state like Switzerland to be pretty close to being swallowed by its stronger neighbors of the 19th century. So, at that time at least among certain strands of Prussian historians it was still a very popular way of thinking. But these days it has been completely ruled out.
So, in conditions such as these, the state remains an alien institution due to failure. It is just juridical statehood and not an empirical one.
And that moves on to the question why is it so that those states who have become independent in the process of decolonization have not been capable of creating viable state institutions. I have already referred to the time issue, so one possibly cannot manage the state-building process within only a few decades. But there is one more important element and that is the issue of the lacking match between the state and its institutions as a sort of European export model being universalized on the one hand. This product of enlightenment, so to speak, and its socio-economic base, in other words, society.
There are basically two principles of organizing political power. One is the principle of personal loyalty, the oath you swear to your superior, be it in a formal or an informal way, clan-derived or formally deduced, was in the past the basic organizing principle of feudal orders, and still is of quite some relevance nowadays in the Southern Hemisphere, in the way how clan societies are organized. So, one might consider that backwardness, it's at least a sort of difference as compared to societies with gave rise to this modern institution of the state.
And there is a second principle where political power is organized by anonymous functional rationality. And these elements — anonymity and rationality — were so alien to German idealistic thinking as well it was pretty hard to grasp in the early 19th century. So, there are two alternatives if you have these two principles clashing, the principle of backward societies and the principle of institutions.
You can either embark of alternative forms of organizing political power, which is being done somehow, in order to adjust the economic conditions or, conversely, to socioeconomic modernization to have the European as the only universal state model to take hold. This has been very carefully studied in the case of Africa which has been identified as so-called neo-patrimonial states, according to the three versions of legitimate power as identified by Max Weber.
Let me move on to the triggers to save some time. So, the question is, if that structural problem is present, why the hell have states failed only now and not earlier? On the one hand, it has been pointed to the systemic exhaustion of this neo-patrimonial order of this unfit between these two principles as I have mentioned earlier, the unfit which in the process of independent statehood after decolonization led to the privatization and the takeover of state institutions by society. So, a systemic exhaustion which after 20 or 30 years of independence led to this gradual process of decay and finally collapse of state institutions, in particular, on the African continent.
But there is one more factor which should be borne in mind, and that is the stabilization from the outside during the Cold War. From 1950 to 1990 the weak states of the South were externally stabilized as respective allies of the United States and the USSR in the process of the globally fought Cold War. When this Cold War ended, these states experienced a series of external shocks. One was the devaluation of development assistance on which up to 50-60 percent of state budgets these states crucially depended and to some extent still depend. Eastern support completely disappeared, Western support to quite some extent was diverted towards the East.
A second very important element to be borne in mind is the policy of structural adjustment by the international financial institutions. Structural adjustment means squeezing out the public sector thereby preventing the political elite of feeding their patronage system any further.
One more element was the challenge of their legitimacy through the third wave of democratization. And the fourth element, which is a bit more controversial, is the so-called shadow globalization in the shape for instance, of blood diamonds, timber smuggling and all that which attracted non-state actors and undermined any sort of substantial strengthening of state revenues, etc., etc.
Let me finally arrive at the therapy. So, what has to be done about state failure, and I think I can manage in five minutes if you allow me, Mr. Chairman.
The basic problem we are all facing with regard to therapy of state failure is the lack of public partners and lack of absorption capacity for traditional development assistance. Traditional development assistance does not only contain negotiating contracts with respective governments, but also needs public institutions to transfer and to channel the money into society. So, there are two basic consequences which have been followed upon in different parts of the world and according to different challenges. One consequence is the establishment of protectorates, protectorates by the major powers as in the case of Kosovo, East Timor, Afghanistan, Haiti, for a short period of time Somalia which was then managed from the capital of Kenya by many efforts of the European Union to implant a new central government into that spot on the global map, and a couple of others, in West Africa, for instance, run by ECOWAS, the Organization of Economic Cooperation of West Africa or by the Brits themselves directly.
The second escape route is putting non-governmental organizations in charge. So, channel the money and resources you provide not through official institutions, but through, as a rule, non-governmental organizations from the Northwestern Hemisphere. There are two essential drawbacks of these two approaches. Once you have protectorates, you incapacitate people from organizing their political power by themselves. It's a sort of steering into a theoretically right but in practical terms wrong direction because they are not able to develop their own capabilities. And the second major drawback is when it comes to protectorates, is that they simply can't afford having those protectorates everywhere in the world, and the numbers are still growing.
So, therefore a couple of scholars in the first place started to devise new strategies beyond the state which are still sort of fancy theorizing since the official political line is completely geared towards reestablishing states as a relevant answer to state collapse, reconstruct it. That is what the World Bank is trying to do, that is what the OECD is trying to do with so far relatively mixed records.
The reasoning of the others, those who think about moving beyond the state as an organizing principle of political power is derived from the fact that they say, the state was not the normal case in history, but, after all, an exception. If you look sufficiently far back into history, that is certainly true, but it is not, I am afraid, good advice. But if so, give up the state possibly because the states are considered not to be a necessary precondition of social order and that in the case of state failure, leaving them alone people sooner or later will have to find a reasonably peaceful and effective way of living together.
So, and let me come to the conclusion, these two fairly opposite approaches will have both to address one fundamental problem or two fundamental problems as a matter of fact. One is the issue of privatization of violence and the second is to address the issue of establishing a capable and legitimate monopoly of the use of force. Those who adhere to the need and the possibility of reconstructing states as I outlined earlier in relatively alien environment have to make sure that it can be guaranteed that these reconstructed states do not only not collapse again, that they do not only have a claim on this monopoly of force, but exercise it in a prudent and legitimate way.The panacea offered by the World Bank, for instance, is that it has to be democratic governance, which in itself creates new problems.
Those who stick to society and the capabilities of society to organize themselves, in other words, those who do not want to bother society any more by the state need to explain that beyond the state order the particularistic interests and contradictions between societal groups and individuals which are found in each society, can be settled by unequivocally accepted rules and by an equally accepted monopoly of the use of force for these rules to be enforced.
So, the question to me, and that is to my mind the most productive intellectually and, in practical terms, most productive way of thinking about therapy is the question whether there is a synthesis of these two distinct approaches. A synthesis in the shape of reconstructing the state from below by creating networks of local communities since it is local communities where you have the only place in conditions of state collapse and failure, where public goods are still present and produced, by integrating those networks of local communities into a national framework. This should then be based on the principle of federalism, subsidiarity and democracy which may have to prevent a thorough privatization once again.
And two, as an element of caution to be mentioned at the very end, there should not be romantic dreaming with regard to local communities because local communities as self-sufficient entities in the past were based on fairly different socio-economic conditions. I mean those socio-economic conditions where you had scattered and largely self-sufficient settlements, subsistence economies and lack of regional exchange. In a dense division of labor you definitely need a central authority which establishes and enforces the rules. Let me thank you and stop here.
Karaganov: Thank you, Professor Spanger. We are benefiting from I think, the precious and the most sophisticated thinking on the issue of failed states present together in the world in the international science. One does not need to agree, one has to listen. I would disagree. I think most of the states should be done away with. I mean simply artificial ones. Most of the states on Earth are simply artificial entities which are not viable, which are consequences of the Cold War and the wars for national liberation. But of course Mr. Spanger does not agree with that, so, he is much more positive than I am. He produces positive recipes while I say just do away with them. But maybe I am more positive in a way that I am more pragmatic than he is because he produces recipes. I am saying, just don’t deal with the failed states since they are doomed.
However, he might be right because — let me remind you that in 1998 a great country called Russia was by most definitions a failed state — and we are not eager to get any intervention from abroad, first. And secondly, we managed to get out of the crisis. I remember very well that in 1999 I spoke to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov, who is a friend of mine and who will be speaking at our council very soon and who came out time and again and said, the Russian Federation believes, the Russian Federation thinks and very few people knew that it was only Igor Ivanov who believed and thought. There was no Russian Federation behind him. So, there may be failed states which recuperate.
So, with these optimistic words I am opening the floor for questions, comments, disagreements. And in the end Professor Spanger will have an opportunity to counter your arguments or to agree with them. Please, introduce yourselves because most of the people are unknown to each other here in this audience. I am calling on the younger people too, don’t be too hesitant. Even if you put us a good question, first of all, there are no stupid questions, there are only stupid answers. Second, this is such a complicated issue that most of the questions could be presented as stupid questions. Go ahead.
Q: Let me introduce myself. My name is Svetlana Petrakova. I am an expert with the State Duma of the Russian Federation and I also work for Gazprom Bank. I have two questions to you. My first question is: what do you think about the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia? And my second question is: do you see any reasons of the collapse of CIS countries?
Karaganov: Please, introduce yourself, Vladimir.
Q: My name is Vladimir Baranovsky. I am from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations. And first of all I would like to thank Professor Spanger for this brilliant presentation, and I think this satisfies both the criteria — thinking and the criterion of education. And we have heard a brilliant presentation of different approaches, of possible approaches to the problem which is the main subject of our discussion. So, once again, thank you very much.
But I have to confess, and perhaps it's a very positive sign of your lecture, that very soon after the beginning of your lecture I understood that what we are speaking about it's much broader than the issue itself. We were supposed to discuss the issue of state failure of failing states, or the way it was announced, “failed states and world economy” or something like that. And I think it is clear to the whole audience that what we are discussing is a problem which is much broader. And I even have questions whether such a problem as failed states exists. Because I think that what we were discussing is a problem of state building. So, this is the major focus — state building. And the problem is: are we going to discuss state failure or the failure of state building? I think it is a very important differentiation. Because if we are speaking about state failures, then what we have in mind is a certain state which has been constructed, which has existed, which was sustainable and for certain reasons it failed. What are the reasons of the failure? That is the question.
When we are speaking about the failure of state building, it's a different problem. It's a process, an attempt to create a state and an attempt to create a state that for some reason has failed. I think that the focus is a little bit different. So, my first question is about this differentiation between state failure and failure of state building. Do you feel that there is a difference, as I feel, or perhaps it's something artificial that I have in my mind?
My second question and a short remark. It's about the comment you have made on the continuity between weakness and state collapse which seems a very reasonable approach, but anyhow there could be a question. Do you see some qualitative moments, qualitative parameters which would allow you and all of us to uphold this view, and because of the existence of such criteria or parameters we could say that the state weakness has already transformed into something which will inevitably bring about the collapse of the state. So, in this continuum, would you be able to identify certain qualitative points which could be very important?
And the last question is about the role of external factors. You have developed this idea in the last part of your presentation. And anyhow, I think that again here we can see that the problem is much broader than what we were trying to discuss. Do we really have historical examples of successful involvement of external factors in order to create sustainable states? Or perhaps it's a question mark? Perhaps we haven't had such kind of examples? Perhaps the examples that we have had in the past are very specific, for example, the success of constructing democratic states in Japan, in Germany after the Second World War. I understand that it's a very artificial example, but could you find other examples which would support the idea of constructive role of external factors in terms of state building? Because the alternative is very simple. We just have to wait until the domestic developments in a certain place in a certain country, in a certain area bring about the results which could with time, with centuries, bring about a state.
May I remind you of the work which used to be one of the fundamental works here in this country when people of my generation studied at universities about the origins of family, private property and state, one of the fundamental works which used to be studied very seriously at universities 30 or 40 years ago, since then the theory developed and some old principles have been proved to be wrong, but it was a very sustainable theory.
Karaganov: It is not an issue of state failure, it's an issue of state building. My belief is that most of the states which are failing are “dead on arrival”. There are at least two to three states in the former Soviet Union which are dead on arrival. For example — we are off the record — Georgia which has lost one-third of its population and all the best and the brightest was dead on arrival. It's a failed state by definition whatever you do. Moldova is another case. Almost the same, I mean. You could not restore Moldova even if you pour money into it. There is a failed state in the making like Byelorussia, but nevertheless you can turn Byelorussia into a prosperous functioning state.
So, it is a difficult question, I must say. My belief is that one-third of the states on Earth are failed. But Joachim has reminded us that most of the states which existed two, three or four centuries ago failed. They do not exist any more. Let me also remind you about the time compression theory which we teach our students. In the previous centuries things and experiences changed over hundreds of years, now experiences are changing over tens of years. We will be unable to use our experience in twenty years of fifteen years. The only thing we could teach you is to constantly move around and to think, adjust and adapt. That means we will not teach you to be nihilists or practical cynics, but adaptation is the name of the game now much more than at any time in world history.
So, the floor is still open.
Q: Yevgeny Babich, I am a second-year student of the School for World Politics that's based in the Institute of US and Canada Studies. My question is about the therapy, the ways to overcome state failure. If I understood correctly, democratization or presence of democratic government can help to cope with the problem. Then how can democratic ideals be combined with religious ideals and the specific shapes of historical development of certain Asian and African states which were mentioned among the failed states? Thank you.
Karaganov: Thank you very much. It's a very good question because it is complete and by the way our friend Joachim hasn't answered the question as to whether the best way to overcome state failure is democracy or autocracy. He said there are two theories, but didn't offer his own view.
Q: My name is Sergei Brilyov, I am a television presenter in this country and also a member of the Council. I was going to cast a shadow of doubt on your criteria of a functioning state because when you are saying it's safety, welfare and democratic government, this is somewhat dubious given the circumstances. Because if you look at the list of today's failed states, then Somalia and Afghanistan do not exactly come from the democratic part of the world. But if you look at the failed states of the 1970s, with major political crises in places like Latin America, you are talking about basically failed states as they were, like Argentina, Uruguay and Chile which had been purely democratic and successful countries. That's one thing.
The other thing is that if you look at the emerging failed states, if I may say so, especially in this part of the world, you suddenly find places like Kyrgyzstan which was considered one of the most democratic nations of Central Asia. And again, in my humble opinion, I basically do agree with you and I also think that democracy is the best cure. I basically joined these debates years before the Hong Kong handover when, as you remember, this whole issue was being debated — whether it is democracy that comes first or economic development comes second. But other than that, having cast doubts on the criteria, may I ask you what you actually think should be done about failed states or failing states? Should we, government, NGOs or whoever try to rebuild them in the functioning societies, functioning states or should we actually continue protecting them and keep them for the time being in this sort of gray zone, that's a zone where they are not states. They've been recognized as failed states, but then we are not trying to rebuild them into functioning states. Treat them as protectorates or whatever they are. That's the question. Thank you.
Karaganov: Could you repeat it? What exactly was the question?
Q: Well, what should we do? Should we try to rebuild them into functioning states or should we sort of keep things as they are for the time being protecting them, providing them with assistance, but not trying to in fact rebuild states?
Q: Vladimir Averchev, Council of Foreign Relations. It is a very interesting analysis and I think that what is somewhat omitted here is the role of international regimes in the creation of the situation when some states which look almost like normal states all of a sudden become failed. And what we have been witnessing during the last several decades is the failure of international regimes, not failure of states. For decades a symbiosis emerged between states and international regimes of various kinds. They reproduced, so to say, the weaknesses of states as justification of their existence to a degree. We have seen how Bretton Woods institutions failed in maintaining the capability of some states to provide some service, like Argentina with its economic failure, for example. All the examples Sergei mentioned are the outcome of the failure of international regime that was called the Soviet Empire.
We know that the role of empires in the past in creating and maintaining states — and today we are facing the situation of the failure of the United Nations as the mechanism of support — and when we are witnessing such a new phenomenon as what is called in Russia “the role or factor of sovereignty” to a degree it is a reaction to the failure of international regimes. And maybe the very fact that the issues that you put at the center of your lecture is a reflection of this new situation of transition of the world community, the international community from a situation when we had one set of international regimes that supported some sort of a combination of states to another system where there would be different center of economic power, military power, etc. In the meantime, we discovered that in this transition only those states that really control their own resources, provide services you mentioned on their own, really can survive during this transition period. The correlation between state failure and international regimes failure. This is my question. How do you see it?
Karaganov: Thank you, Honorable Doctor Averchev. I think we have at least one more question. So, nobody dares. Okay.
Q: Professor Spanger, my name is Alexander Simonov, I am a senior student of the Higher School of Economics. I would like to ask you about Iraq. You have mentioned the principle that “war makes states and that states make war” and that this principle has already been outlawed. But nowadays we observe that the leading state of the world, I mean the United States of America, has severely abused this principle. You have also mentioned the phenomenon of protectorates and can we regard Iraq as a protectorate of the United States of America? If we just look at modern history, we will see that the domestic and foreign policies of Iraq of course left much to be desired, but all in all, it was just an average Arab state. So, what international treaties and what reasons forced the United States of America to attack Iraq? This is my question.
Karaganov: Thank you very much. I think we are having sort of a large debate though, of course, Professor Spanger gave us a very comprehensive cream of the cream of international thinking on that matter. But the questions showed everybody that he only opened Pandora's Box rather than filled in the vacuum. You opened the Pandora Box, please try to close it.
Spanger: Yeah, that's what I said. It was meant to encourage you to move deeper into that. But nevertheless I'll try to address what has been asked and raised during this discussion and question and answer session.
Let me start with the last one, with the Iraq case. The Iraq case is pretty much of a problem in many regards. No doubt about that. First, that you referred to quite rightly, that one of the major creations of the international order and the United Nations and one of the main guarantors as a permanent member of the Security Council alongside with four others in his deep conviction of representing the unipolar moment these days feels free to violate these very rules. The sad side effect is that, quite obviously, the United States produced the problem it intended to solve. In that respect Iraq has become, and unfortunately in that regard we agree even, Iraq has for the time being to become a protectorate. It was not intended to turn Iraq into a protectorate. It was just an ill-fated military intervention.
And it was not a military intervention in the sense as I quoted earlier “states make war and war makes states”. It was not a state-building war in the sense that you swallow territory in order to increase your importance, your might, add to your resources, etc., etc. This bloody war in Iraq is a terrible drain on American resources and the figures run up into trillions if you count all the costs which are not being covered any more as during the First Gulf War by Japan and Germany, but have to be borne by the American taxpayer in the first place.
So, it is a war which due to reasons of miscalculation which also quite often happened in history, and for reasons of miscalculation we'll have an exactly opposite result. The war in Iraq was not intended to increase the strength of the United States, but, more of that, it will make the United States weaker which was also not intended to. And you can already observe it if you look at the way the United States deals with the fundamental issues such as the nuclearization of Iran. They are very careful not even to threaten the employment of military means.
It has to be a protectorate for the time being because the United States produced a failed state in Iraq which would completely collapse. And with everything that is going on, preventing a stable state from emerging there, spreading and further destabilizing the situation by way of regionalizing that conflict in any sort of neighboring countries the United States evolves right into what used to be the Soviet Union. That is bad, but that again confronts us in a way with this fundamental problem of how to reconstruct states. The answer in the particular case of Iraq is particularly unclear. I mean, we had a very repressive state which was not capable of defending itself as we all know, but that was not very surprising being confronted with the military might like that of the United States. But it was also a very repressive state, and Saddam Hussein's regime, we shouldn’t have any doubts about that, was one of the bloodiest we had in the world. A very repressive regime which, however, by means of repression held this country in one way or another under control.
The democratic answer to this governance challenge — so, one man — one vote, one woman — one vote — would have inevitably led to the superiority of the Shiite majority in the country and to such a fundamental alienation of the rest of it that this wouldn’t work either. So, the balancing act of the United States nowadays is to make sure through their military presence the fundamental principle of federalism preserving minority group rights. Confronted with these fundamental democratic principles it is quite a balancing act and I am afraid to say, there is so far no visible way out of this dilemma.
So, the conflicting objectives, the gap between these conflicting objectives is widening ever more and one can sit back and say that this original calculation that once you sent American troops in is a liberalizing move by definition and people will join the American forces in joy. As simple as it sounds, that was exactly the calculation of the Pentagon, at least those U.S. military who were in charge even of the postwar reconstruction originally, as we all know. This proved adamantly wrong and this is how one cannot solve this problem. But sitting back, clapping your hands and being happy about the stupidity of certain decision makers in Washington is certainly not enough because the consequences are being felt by all of us in many respects. So, it should be in the interests of all of us to find a way out.
But I wanted to make it clear that in the case of Iraq, to my mind even under Saddam Hussein — and I do not subscribe to the definition that authoritarian states by definition are failed states — I don’t think that Iraq used to be, with all its repression, a failed state earlier. It became a failed state by means of military intervention.
It also applies to the first question, the reasons for collapse and whether the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and one might add Czechoslovakia were failed states. They were not. They were empires in a sense, empires combining with central power parts of the world which, quite obviously, thought in the processes that you could leave these empires as happened earlier at the beginning of the 20th century in the case of the Ottoman Empire and even then partially already with the Czarist Empire, with the Hapsburg Empire that they would fare better if they were on their own. Because according to their view they were in possession of all the needs except successfully running their territorial entities and their people, with the exception of one crucial ingredient, and that was independence.
That this happened very differently has to do with peculiar reasons. The most civilized divorce, as we all know, took place between the Czech and the Slovak republics, that was rapidly negotiated and then carried out and now I do not have the impression that they are pretty upset about that solution. It was definitely the worst in the case of Yugoslavia because in most federal subjects, with the exception of Slovenia, the delineation of the border combined with a mixture of the ethnic composition, in particular, in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, less so in the other parts, but as you know in Kosovo it also played a role, combined with that, led to a bloody civil war, or, after the official recognition of Croatia and others, even turned into a state war.
But again that leads on to the more fundamental question which has been raised with respect to international order and failed states. I want to make it clear that contrary to the past when strong states did not hesitate to swallow weak states, the international order today created the problem of having weak and failed states because they effectively prevent stronger states from just taking over. It is now in the “benign” interests of the people in those failed states that the international community mandates itself or respective states, that on behalf of the international community troops performing by and large a policing function are being deployed to establish those temporary protectorates which have the ultimate goal of enabling these states to reconstruct the necessary institutions. So, that is the basic rationale and the way how it is being carried out.
It has an important humanitarian aspect, and that refers to the question whether one should leave them alone or not. It has an important humanitarian aspect and the entailing debate about the right to interfere, entitlement in international law of humanitarian intervention since in many of these cases you had very, very ugly and bloody wars with lots of atrocities and lots of victims and you can't simply stand by and observe it. I mean, there are cynics who say since there is no long-term solution to such a bloodshed, let us wait for it to bleed out. But that is not a humanitarian sound answer to such a humanitarian challenge even though one has to be aware that the concept employed hasn't really worked. If I remember correctly, one has to admit that in cases such as those I outlined now there is hardly any successful transition. I mean Cambodia possibly here. But even East Timor cut off from Indonesia was considered sort of a relatively successful thing, but the domestic situation in East Timor — I think the United Nations are still in there — is dreadful, very, very unstable, and it is unclear whether that transition which has been encouraged by the international community through the UN and troop deployment by Australia, whether that transition will lead to sustainable statehood.
Haiti, another of those cases, is a lost case. But again, can we afford just to stand aside and look what is happening and see how they reorganize themselves? I have to admit, I do not have a clear answer to that. I mean it is a try and go operation. And I am very hesitant to come up with those principalist views on that saying that establishing that sort of protectorates in situations of humanitarian catastrophe, and so far it is confined, luckily enough, confined to those situations, that we consider that a new form of colonialism which keeps people away from self-government. Certainly, it has elements of neo-colonialism, but as long as it is in the interests of the people, I am even not afraid of colonialism, to be frank.
The democratic reconstruction of Germany and Japan, Volodya, was not exactly a case of reconstructing failed states. These were militarily defeated states because they had celebrated the apotheosis, if you wish, of the state in the most fundamental way. But this military defeat did not question the statehood and the adherence to the state. It is definitely not in the German tradition since Germans are one of the most etatist people in the world, and in that respect they are possibly not that far from the Russians, after all. So, there was not much of a need to reconstruct these states as states. There was a need to introduce democracy because that was much less prominent in their history and for democracy to take hold as opposed, to take hold in the German case after the First World War and the Weimar syndrome which was also quite popular in Russia for some time. In Germany it apparently needed a complete military plus moral collapse of the country after the Nazi regime.
Sergei posed a question whether there are doomed states and somebody else.
Karaganov: Whether there are states in the process of building up and states which are doomed.
Spanger: You, Volodya, raised qualitative sort of crucial points from which one can say that is definitely doomed. That again, it's a matter of definition on the one hand and the matter of how you analyze the phenomenon. I would subscribe to the theory that there is an insufficient match between the universalized European model of statehood on one hand and its socio-economic basis on the other hand. There is a mismatch, that is quite obvious, and this mismatch has to be handled in one way or another. You can do it in a fairly wasteful plus repressive way as was the case during the Cold War when these were clients of either the West or the East, we pumped a lot of money into that, we had our respective son-of-a-bitch, be it in Congo, be it in the shape of Haile Mariam in Ethiopia, for instance. That was not much different and if need be, we sent some troops in to make sure that they were not put down by, I don’t know, insurgencies in these countries.
And it worked. It worked for quite some while. As I said, it was pretty wasteful, it certainly contributed to bringing down the Soviet Union, to some extent, at least. We in the West could afford that a bit longer, but we were lucky not to do it any more. But now we are together facing the consequences of feeding these countries through that fairly serious condition.
Nevertheless, again, one can give a cynical answer to that saying that development assistance has not arrived at any meaningful contribution to socio-economic modernization and development. James Easterly has just written a big book giving all these examples about the waste of money during development assistance. We can also say that we all know how the Cold War ended and why it ended and therefore give it up, just leave it. Then those states would most probably be doomed, most of them, not all of them. There are even success stories in Africa such as Botswana and Mauritius. But these are two isolated cases.
There are other relatively strong states which demonstrated their strength through committing atrocities. Rwanda, for instance, has never been a weak state. Rwanda has a very strong state tradition in Africa and if you watch the movie “Rwanda Hotel” you can easily observe it. But this was an atrocity which was centrally organized and carried out. So, it was an expression of state strength, not all those atrocities and humanitarian catastrophes are products of weak states.
So, I've just been reminded that I should come to a close and that close would be sort of our common responsibility to take care of that part of the world. Thank you.
Karaganov: Thank you very much. I don’t know whether we should clap our hands in the Russian way or bang on our… the German way. Let's do it the German way. It was a most interesting, provocative and intellectually challenging conversation. I am pretty sure it was a good start. We'll have five or ten minutes of social networking now and then we will wait for the next meeting which is to happen on the 13th of February. The chairman will be Sergei Kortunov, the head speaker will be Academician Nodar Simonia who has retired recently from being the Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Affairs and boss of Academician Baranovsky and have joined us as the Head of Department with our School. It will be on the political aspects of the energy situation in the world. So it will be a launch of Simonia's department here.
We would very much like you to send your questions and requests beforehand as to the gist of the debate because Simonia could speak or he and his colleagues could speak about almost everything in the field. He will reckon with the fact that you are interested in some other things than he wants to speak about.
We will probably have more of a social life within our club. We are now for the first time in this room. We will have another room for social gatherings after and before. I think our club should regularly start at about 5:45, so, we could have a formal debate for about an hour and a half after and then 50 or 40 minutes or one hour of gathering both for senior and also for students so we could mingle. But anyway, thank you very much. Joachim, it was a great experience.
Those who didn't write down Professor Spanger’s lecture word by word will suffer because we may print a very abbreviated version of his speech and of his answers. But he will most probably edit whatever proofs he will get, so, probably you will get a more sophisticated version in the next two or three months. Thank you for coming. And we've got of course to thank LUKOIL because it has offered us its general support. So far, we have been the sponsors, but from now on LUKOIL will be the sponsor. Thank you all very much once again. (Applause).
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